The Latest: Merkel hoping for diplomatic solution over Iran
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on The United States and Iran’s tensions over the shootdown of a massive U.S. drone (all times local):
German Chancellor Angel Merkel says European countries are still hoping that there can be a political solution to the tensions between the United States and Iran.
Merkel told reporters in Brussels on Friday that European governments’ foreign policy advisers had met on the sidelines of a European Council meeting to discuss the tensions in the region.
She says “naturally we are worried about the situation and we’re counting on diplomatic negotiations for a political solution to a very tense situation.”
Merkel did not elaborate further on her comments.
The low-cost airline FlyDubai says it has “adjusted” some of its flight paths after the U.S. warned about the risk of commercial jetliners being attacked near the Strait of Hormuz following Iran’s shootdown of an American military surveillance drone.
FlyDubai told The Associated Press in a statement on Friday that it “adjusted some of the existing flight paths in the region as a precautionary measure.” It said it continues to monitor the situation.
The downing of the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk has escalated already heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Major international airlines say they have rerouted their flights to avoid the area after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning to pilots early Friday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman says Germany welcomes reports that President Donald Trump apparently decided against immediate military strikes in retaliation for Iran’s downing of an American reconnaissance drone.
The spokeswoman was asked on Friday about reports that Trump approved military strikes and then decided against launching them the night before.
Martina Fietz says that “regarding President Trump, I can say that there are numerous statements and indications that the American president would like to avoid a military confrontation and we naturally welcome that.”
Merkel has been calling for both sides to deescalate the tensions in the region and Fietz reiterated that “we welcome any steps that can contribute to de-escalation.”
The head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division says Iran had warned a U.S. military surveillance drone several times before launching a missile at it.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh made the comment in an interview with Iranian state television on Friday. Debris from what Iranian authorities described as pieces of the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk lay behind him.
Hajizadeh told state TV: “Unfortunately they did not answer.”
He added Iran collected the debris from its territorial waters. The U.S. military says that the drone was in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz when it was shot down.
The shootdown of the drone has escalated already heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Iran has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who also represents U.S. interest in Iran, to protests what it claims was an incursion into Iranian airspace by an American drone.
The U.S. has disputed that, saying the Navy’s RQ-4A Global Hawk was shot down on Thursday over international waters, not inside Iranian airspace.
Iranian state TV on Friday reported that Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner was summoned to hear Iran’s protest over the alleged violation. Switzerland looks after the U.S. interests in Iran as Tehran and Washing have had no diplomatic relations since 1979.
Iran says the U.S. drone was a “very dangerous provocation” and urges the international community to demand that Washington end its drone spying.
Iranian state television’s website has published images it says show debris from the U.S. military surveillance drone that Iran shot down the previous day.
The pictures show what appears to be the skin of the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk. Iranian state television did not say where the debris was filmed.
The photographs did not show any circuit boards, wiring or electronic equipment.
An Iranian surface-to-air missile fired early Thursday brought down the RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million. The U.S. said it made plans for limited strikes on Iran in response, but then called them off.
The shootdown has further escalated tensions between Iran the U.S. as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels.
British Airways will re-route flights away from the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a US military drone.
The decision comes after the Federal Aviation Administration barred American-registered aircraft from flying over Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
BA joins Australia’s Qantas and Dutch carrier KLM in opting to change the routing of their planes to avoid tensions in the area.
BA says Friday that “our safety and security team are constantly liaising with authorities around the world as part of their comprehensive risk assessment into every route we operate.”
German airline Lufthansa says it is no longer flying planes over the Strait of Hormuz or the Gulf of Oman after the shooting down by Iran of an American reconnaissance drone.
The carrier says that the flights were suspended over the two bodies of water on Thursday, and that the zone was expanded on Friday to include surrounding areas of land.
For the meantime, the airline, Germany’s largest, says its flights to Tehran will continue.
Lufthansa says the decision was based upon its own assessment of the situation.
Abu Dhabi-based long-haul carrier Etihad says it has “contingency plans” after the U.S. barred American-registered planes from flying through Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Etihad’s statement to The Associated Press on Friday come as after a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration following Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone on Thursday.
Etihad said in a statement: “Etihad Airways is carefully monitoring the current situation. Contingency plans are in place, and we will decide what further action is required after carefully evaluating the FAA directive to U.S. carriers.”
Dutch carrier KLM says its planes will not fly over Strait of Hormuz following the shooting down by Iran of a U.S. military surveillance drone.
The airline announced the move Friday morning, saying in a brief statement that the “incident with the drone is reason not to fly over the Strait of Hormuz for the time being.”
KLM says the move is a “precautionary measure.”
The Dutch carrier’s decision comes after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration barred American-registered aircraft from flying over Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the aftermath of the downing of the drone.
Australian airline Qantas says it will reroute flights away from the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman after Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.
Qantas said Friday it would affect its flights between Australia and London.
It stressed its flights pass over the region at 40,000 feet.
The decision on Friday comes after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration barred American-registered aircraft from flying over Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman over the Revolutionary Guard shooting down the U.S. drone, affecting a region crucial to global air travel.
The United States made preparations for a military strike against Iran on Thursday night in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go. That from a U.S. official.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, told the AP that the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.
The White House on Thursday night declined requests for comment.